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Year End Review- 2019: Ministry of Labour and Employment

  • 08 Apr 2020
  • 8 min read

The Ministry of Labour & Employment has taken initiatives which includes governance reforms through use of e-governance measures and legislative reforms by simplifying, amalgamating and rationalizing the existing labour laws into 4 labour codes.

Legislative Initiatives: Labour Law Reforms

The Ministry has been working on to simplify, amalgamate & rationalize the provisions of the existing Central labour laws into 4 Labour Codes. The four labour codes - on Wages, Industrial Relations, Social Security and Occupational Safety, and Health and Working Conditions - intend to provide workers with wage security, social security, safety, health and grievance redress mechanisms.

  • Labour Code on Wages: The Code on Wages, 2019 subsumes 4 existing Laws, viz. the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Payment of Wages Act, 1936; the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965; and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. It has been passed by the Parliament.
  • Labour Code on Industrial Relations: The draft Labour Code on Industrial Relations subsumes the existing Laws viz. The Trade Union Act, 1926; The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946; The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
  • Labour Code on Social Security & Welfare: The draft Code on Social Security subsumes 09 Labour Acts like: The Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923, The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, The Unorganized Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 etc.
  • Labour Code on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions: The Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code, 2019 subsumes the 13 Labour Acts like: The Factories Act, 1948, The Plantation Labour Act, 1951, The Mines Act, 1952, The Building and Other Constructions Workers’ (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 etc.

Governance Reforms Through Technology

  • Shram Suvidha Portal: The Ministry of Labour & Employment has developed a unified Web Portal ‘Shram Suvidha Portal’, to bring transparency and accountability in enforcement of labour laws and ease complexity of compliance. There are 4 main features of this Portal:
    • Unique labour identification number (LIN) will be allotted to Units to facilitate online registration.
      • Filing of self-certified and simplified Single Online Return by the industry instead of filing separate Returns.
      • Computerized inspection Reports within 72 hours by the Labour inspectors.
      • Timely and effective redressal of grievance.
    • Integrating Shram Suvidha Portal with States: Integration of States with Shram Suvidha Portal is under way. Data is being shared and LIN is being allotted to the establishments covered by the state labour enforcement agencies.
    • Start Up India: Facility for exemption from Labour Inspections under six (6) Central Labour Acts is being provided to the Start-ups which submit self certified declarations through Shram Suvidha Portal.

Social Security Schemes

Government of India has launched two pension schemes for old age protection and social security of Unorganised Workers in 2019.

  • Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM): It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme for the benefit of unorganized workers.
    • It is a central sector scheme open to unorganised workers, whose monthly income is Rs.15000/- or below and who has an Aadhar number as well as savings bank/ jan-dhan account.
    • The minimum age for joining the scheme is 18 years and the maximum is 40 years. Under the scheme, minimum assured monthly pension of Rs.3000/- will be provided to the beneficiaries from the age of 60 years onwards.
  • National Pension Scheme for Traders, Shopkeepers and Self-Employed Persons: It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme. Enrolment to the Scheme is done through the Common Service Centres.
    • The traders in the age group of 18-40 years with an annual turnover, not exceeding Rs.1.5 crore and who are not members of EPFO/ESIC/NPS/PM-SYM or an income tax payer can join the scheme.
    • Under the scheme, 50% monthly contribution is payable by the beneficiary and equal matching contribution is paid by the Central Government. Subscribers, after attaining the age of 60 years, are eligible for a monthly minimum assured pension of Rs.3,000.
  • Pension Week was celebrated in all the States/UTs from 30th November to 06th December, 2019 in coordination with Common Service Centres, to increase the enrolments under both the Schemes, i.e. PM-SYM and NPS-Traders.

Major Steps Taken By EPFO

Three important digital initiatives of EPFO are as under:

  • Online Facility for UAN generation by worker.
  • EPS Pensioner’s PPO in DigiLocker website/Application (APP).
  • e-Inspections: Digital interface of EPFO with employers.

Major Steps Taken By ESIC

  • Rate reduction in ESI Contribution: This reduction of contribution rates, will ensures financial relief to employers and employees.
  • ESIC – Chinta Se Mukti app launched - The Corporation has also launched the ESIC “Chinta Se Mukti” app available on the UMANG platform to facilitate stakeholders to view contribution details, eligibility for benefits, claim status, etc. in their Mobile Handset.
  • National Career Service Project-(NCS): This project is being implemented by the Directorate General of Employment, Ministry of Labour & Employment. National Career Service (NCS) is a one-stop solution that provides a wide array of employment and career related services to the citizens of India. It works towards bridging the gap between jobseekers and employers, candidates seeking training and career guidance, agencies providing training and career counselling.
  • Various National Career Service Centres for Differently Abled (NCSC-Das) and SC/STs are in operation.
  • Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) - Under the scheme, Government of India is paying Employer’s full contribution i.e. 12% towards EPF and EPS both (as admissible from time to time) for a period of three years to the new employees through EPFO.
    • This scheme has a dual benefit, where, on the one hand, the employer is incentivised for increasing the employment base of workers in the establishment, and on the other hand, a large number of workers will find jobs in such establishments.
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